64% of Consumers Still Plans to Cut Spending, Morgan Stanley’s New Survey Shows By

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By Senad Karaahmetovic

Morgan Stanley strategist Michelle Weaver shared the results of the latest U.S. ‘Consumer Pulse Survey’ that shows still elevated consumer concerns about high .

The survey was conducted in the first week of September with about 2,000 consumers in the U.S. taking part. 64% of survey respondents said inflation remains their primary concern, slightly down from 67% in mid-July.

“This lines up with what is likely to be the peak in inflation. Apart from inflation, low-income consumers are generally more worried about the inability to pay rent and other debts, while upper income consumers over index on concerns over investments, the political environment in the U.S., and geopolitical conflicts,” Weaver said in a client note.

Along these lines, 64% of consumers said they plan to cut spending (down from 65% in August and 69% in July). The survey results also show that consumers have continued to trade down to save money as 70% noted at least some trading down to their typical spending habits.

Among other things, respondents mentioned switching from name brands to private label brands (42%) as well as pivoting from more expensive to less expensive retailers (32%).

“Switching from higher priced menu options to lower ones was also a popular way to save money with 29% of consumers engaging in this behavior. Consumers continue to be price conscious when shopping for groceries. In-line with the previous wave, consumers tend to pay more attention to prices when grocery shopping, use coupons/offers, and shop at retailers with lower prices,” added Weaver.

Finally, over a third of consumers said they missed or were late with payments on bills/loans in the past three months.

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